Dramatic mountain scenery, lush vineyards and historic Cape Dutch architecture are your beautiful backdrop while you taste the Cape’s splendid wines and soak up your gorgeous surroundings

In the Cape Winelands, splendid mountains form a dramatic backdrop to lush vineyards and gabled Cape Dutch homesteads steeped in history. The Cape Winelands is filled with fertile valleys planted with vines stretching across rolling fields, where farmers enjoy perfect conditions for creating some of the best wines in the world. The region is a wonderful combination of quaint towns, beautiful scenery and wine estates producing delicious wines and brandies.

Visit many wine farms for a wine tasting and cellar tour or stroll down a beautifully restored street in one of the historic town centres and visit the museums and monuments that pay homage to the proud history of the original Dutch, French and German settlers.

South Africa’s Cape Winelands produced the first local wines in 1659. Since then the industry has gone from strength to strength, and it’s not hard to see why. The Mediterranean climate, cooling winds, soil and expertise are the perfect ingredients for creating superior wines.

In 1652 the Dutch East India Company dispatched Jan van Riebeeck to erect a fort and lay out a vegetable garden in Table Bay. Five years later the first farmers started working their own land and in 1659 van Riebeeck recorded the making of the first wine in the Cape. These were made from indigenous wild grapes but later French vines were planted – including Chenin Blanc and Muscat. The industry received a huge boost in 1686 when a large number of Huguenot religious refugees arrived from France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Most of them came from wine-growing regions, bringing with them their knowledge and skills. Many chose to live in what is now Franschhoek (‘French Corner’), their farms still linked to France through names such as La Motte, Cabrière, Provence and Dieu Donne.

In 1866 the Cape Winelands were devastated by phylloxera, which kills vine roots. A massive replanting of South Africa’s vineyards followed, which laid the foundation for the current industry structure of cooperatives and private producers. These cater for a whole range or tastes, from everyday consumption to high-end quality wines, many of which have won international acclaim.

While most of the grapes from the Cape Winelands will be familiar to visitors, there is one uniquely South African viticultural cross – pinotage. Created by Professor Abraham Perold at Stellenbosch University in 1925 by crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (formerly known as Hermitage), it produces a deep red wine with smoky, earthy flavours.

Cape Winelands

Things to do in Cape Winelands

Cheetah Outreach Project

Franschhoek

Stellenbosch

Wine tasting

Accommodation in Cape Winelands

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve

Bushmans Kloof offers you a totally immersive experience in a spectacular predator- and malaria-free wilderness area in the Cape Floral Kingdom. This Relais & Chateaux property has won multiple awards over the years, including best small hotel in the world, but it is not just its undeniable luxury that has earned it these plaudits. What sets it apart is the sensitive way in which it blends world-class comfort and hospitality with the pristine wilderness of its South African Natural Heritage Site surrounds. Bushmans Kloof’s sincere dedication to creating a sanctuary for endangered flora and fauna in the 7 500-hectare reserve…

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Accommodation in Cape Winelands

Delaire Graff Estate

Delaire Graff is a must-visit destination that offers a truly luxurious Cape Winelands experience. Famous for its fine wines, remarkable art collection and unrivalled hospitality in a remarkably beautiful setting with breathtaking views of the Stellenbosch Valley, this is a sophisticated estate that ticks all the boxes for discerning travellers. Traditional Cape Dutch architecture meets African artefacts and contemporary styling, with original art from Laurence Graff’s personal collection. Enjoy award-winning wines from Delaire Graff's state-of-the-art winery, dine in the superb restaurants and stay in one of the sumptuous lodges. A truly sophisticated Winelands experience, Delaire Graff Lodges offer guests elegant sanctuary in…

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Accommodation in Cape Winelands

La Residence

The 30-hectare (74-acre) private estate is lushly planted with vineyards and plum orchards backdropped by Franschhoek’s breathtaking mountains. The entrance is magnificent, with glittering chandeliers suspended from the vaulted ceiling and walls covered with huge mirrors. The sumptuous furnishings are an indication of what to expect in the lavish bedroom suites. Attention to every detail, no matter how small, is an integral part of the La Residence experience, and each artfully designed suite is lavishly decorated in its own scheme. Elegant antiques, natural textiles, rich colours, privacy, space and comfort are a given, whether you are in the exotic, oriental-influenced…

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Accommodation in Cape Winelands

Mont Rochelle

Richard Branson’s Franschhoek bolthole, beautiful Mont Rochelle is a Cape Dutch-style boutique hotel and vineyard with glorious views of the Franschhoek mountains and valley. This charming boutique hotel is set in delightful grounds with remarkable views of the surrounding Franschhoek countryside and vineyards. Mont Rochelle really is the perfect place for an intimate, relaxing country stay, and it’s a wonderful base from which to explore Franschhoek, the food and wine capital of South Africa. The hotel is just a 45-minute drive from Cape Town International Airport and within 35 minutes’ of the Stellenbosch, Paarl and Somerset West wine routes. Surrounded…

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